Acquisition Laws and Regulations

Federal Acquisition Regulation System – FAR

Most U.S. government agencies comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation System, consisting of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and agency regulations that supplement the FAR. Together these regulations cover all aspects of the contracting process: planning, soliciting, awarding, performing and closing-out. Understanding the FAR and its supplements is a fundamental requirement for:

  • marketing;
  • preparing bids and offers responding to solicitations;
  • receiving awards;
  • properly administering a contract;
  • successfully avoiding contract litigation; and
  • compliance with related federal laws.

Agencies not required to comply with the FAR system, such as those that use monies other than those appropriated by the U.S. Congress, have contracting procedures not remarkably different from those required to comply.

FAR Part 25 Foreign Acquisition

For Canadians, FAR Part 25 on Foreign Acquisition is one of the most important regulatory sections to be familiar with as it includes information such as:

  • Buy American rules for supplies and construction materials
  • Trade agreements, including NAFTA and WTO GPA compliance and exceptions
  • Specific exceptions for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA or Recovery Act)
  • Customs and duties
  • Solicitation provisions and contract clauses
  • Any further restrictions or additional information on foreign acquisition

Corresponding defence-related procurement regulations are contained in the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement, specifically DFARS Part 225. For more information on defence-related procurement, please contact Rich Malloy, Trade Commissioner (Defence), Canadian Embassy, Washington, D.C.

Monitor updates to the FAR and agency supplements

The FAR, the DFARS, and most other agency supplements to the FAR are amended frequently as public laws are implemented and federal procurement policy evolves. You must stay current with these updates as they may impact how you conduct business with the U.S. government, and they can affect your eligibility for contract award.

Monitor changes to the FAR to determine if they apply to an agency's supplemental regulation. For example, the Department of Energy's implementation of a FAR change may differ (slightly or significantly) from the Defense Department's or the Environmental Protection Agency's because of different mission, jurisdiction or responsibility of each agency.

Changes to the FAR, as they occur, are published in the Federal Register.